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Yes. Personal or internal consumption – meaning product participants purchase and consume to satisfy their own genuine product demand – does not determine whether the FTC will consider an MLM’s compensation structure unlawful. As noted in the answer to question 5, when evaluating the issue of participants’ internal consumption, the FTC staff is likely to consider, among other factors, both (i) whether features of the MLM’s compensation structure incentivize or encourage participants to purchase product for reasons other than satisfying genuine demand; and (ii) information bearing on whether purchases were in fact made to satisfy personal demand to consume the product. When evaluating MLMs, the FTC focuses on how the structure as a whole operates in practice and considers factors including marketing representations, participant experiences, the compensation plan, and the incentives that the compensation structure creates.
I agree with you that much of the industry is flawed, but what about an MLM that has a service rather than a product such as electricity. It’s not like that could go out of style or that once you buy it you don’t need it again or that your monthly supply is too much and you’re going to stop the monthly subscriptions. I can honestly say that I cannot stand most MLM companies because regardless what you believe or how much you like the product, if you have to try to convince someone else to use it then inevitably the system is flawed and eventually your residuals will dry up. Electricity though, that’s different in my opinion, no one has to convince me to use it, it just comes by default. Find me an MLM that is not selling so much as showing someone an alternative to what they already have to pay and I’d be interested.